The Day

Williams’ personalit­y has gone worldwide

- By NED GRIFFEN Day Sports Writer

Mohegan — Courtney Williams is winning the WNBA playoffs.

A sports nation learned during the semifinals what Connecticu­t Sun fans have long since known — that Williams has a personalit­y three times her 5-foot-8, 136 pound frame. She was ESPN's dream during the series and kept popping up on social media.

“I'm just being myself,” Williams said about the attention. “They showing me love.”

Sun head coach Curt Miller said, “And it's genuine. She's positive, exuberant, loves the game and just wants to share that with her teammates. (She's) the ultimate hype-person for her teammates, for the organizati­on. You just see that zest that Courtney has for life and the game of basketball.”

Williams has also caught fire during the playoffs and helped the Sun to the finals. They'll play the Washington Mystics in the best-of-five series starting Sunday at the Entertainm­ent and Sports Arena (3 p.m., ESPN).

Williams, an off-guard, was Connecticu­t's leading-scorer during its three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Sparks. She shot 46.3 percent from the floor and averaged 19 points along with 8.7 rebounds (she's 5-8, remember), 5 assists and 1.3 steals.

The Sun completed the sweep with a 78-56 road rout in Game 3 on Sunday. Moments after the game, Williams heard some teenage girls in the crowd at Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State yelling for her.

Williams raced over, hugged one of the teens who burst into tears, and both took selfies and celebrated with them.

“I didn't know who those kids was,” Williams said. “They just started calling my name, so I ran over there. … I was just showing them love.

That was cool. That was a cool little moment.”

Miller said, “That's not scripted. That's not pre-planned. That's just Courtney Williams being Courtney.”

Jasmine Thomas, who scored 29 in that win, and Williams were chosen to speak at the postgame press conference after the Game 3. Thomas began the duo's opening statements and talked for a few moments.

After Thomas was done talking, Williams, wearing shades, simply replied, “facts.”

Miller, who was not there, was told about it at Wednesday's practice and tried not to laugh. “Courtney,” he said. “Courtney, being real.”

Williams keeps her teammates loose with her quips and often refers to each and everyone of them as her “dog.”

“I am her most vicious dog,” Thomas laughed.

It's easy to see, to, where Williams got her personalit­y. Her father, Don, has also become a favorite of the ESPN cameras. He was constantly jumping up-and-down, celebratin­g and waving a towel from the front row during Games 1 and 2.

“Y'all see him,” Williams replied when told she's like her father. “He's a character.

“I love every moment. I live in every moment. I enjoy every moment.”

• The Sun will hold a fan send off at 10 a.m. today prior to the team leaving for Washington. The event will take place at the Reflection Pool inside the Mohegan Sun hotel lobby.

Ray Pineault, president and general manager of the Mohegan Sun, will begin the ceremony before Miller introdcues the team and captain Jasmine Thomas addresses the fans. n.griffen@theday.com

 ?? JESSICA HILL/AP PHOTO ?? Courtney Williams is lifted in the air by her father Don Williams after the Sun defeated Los Angeles in Game 2 of their WNBA semifinal playoff series on Sept. 19. Williams’ infectious personalit­y has been on full display this postseason as the Sun prepare for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday against the Mystics.
JESSICA HILL/AP PHOTO Courtney Williams is lifted in the air by her father Don Williams after the Sun defeated Los Angeles in Game 2 of their WNBA semifinal playoff series on Sept. 19. Williams’ infectious personalit­y has been on full display this postseason as the Sun prepare for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday against the Mystics.

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